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Day 4 - Hearings on fate of Missouri's lone abortion clinic

Planned Parenthood attorney Christine Clarke wraps her arms around Kawanna Shannon, the director of surgical services at Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, as Shannon leaves for a short break after getting emotional mid-way through her testimony on the fourth day of hearings between Planned Parenthood and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, at the Wainwright State Office Building in St. Louis. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

Regarding “Hearing concludes in Missouri abortion clinic licensing case” (Nov. 1): Against the backdrop Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission’s deciding the fate of Planned Parenthood’s retaining its license and the governor signing a bill that would ban abortions at eight weeks, except for medical emergencies, Missouri has rightly gained national attention as a state that champions life. However, there are some inconsistencies baked into that by the state Legislature.

In setting state tax rates, the Legislature has determined that baby diapers are a luxury. As such, baby diapers, incontinence diapers and feminine sanitary products are all taxed at the state luxury rate of 4%, raising $17 million to $20 million yearly, paid primarily by the families of infants, toddlers and women. Yet candy and soda, staples of the convenience stores represented by a powerful lobby, are not luxuries and are taxed at the grocery rate of 1%.

Likewise, some older and disabled people don’t seem to fare well either. In 2018, 50% of the 92,000 calls to the Adult Abuse and Neglect Hotline went unanswered. This is the hotline where Missourians report abuse, neglect or exploitation of those 60 or older and those with disabilities ages 18 to 59. During the last 10 years, there has been a 35% increase in calls. A staffing ramp up of one person during that time hasn’t really seemed to fill the need.

Sally Sandy • Eureka